Australasia

The gene therapy revolution is here. Medicine is scrambling to keep pace

Gene therapy – for so long something that belonged to the future – has just hit the streets. Elizabeth Finkel The Conversation A couple of weeks back, you might have picked up a headline alerting us to the most expensive drug in history – a one off gene therapy cure for spinal muscular atrophy. Novartis have priced the drug Zolgensma at A$3 million (US$2.1 million). Traditionally a parent of a baby with spinal muscular atrophy was told: take your baby ... Read More »

Why the raids on Australian media present a clear threat to democracy

The Australian Federal Police has this week conducted two high-profile raids on journalists who have exposed government secrets and their sources. Rebecca Ananian-Welsh The Conversation On Tuesday, seven AFP officers spent several hours searching News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst’s Canberra home, her mobile phone and computer. The AFP linked the raid to “the alleged publishing of information classified as an official secret”. This stemmed from Smethurst’s 2018 article, which contained images of a “top secret” memo and reported that senior government officials were considering ... Read More »

Former judge says Mokbel has grounds for release, accuses police of criminal behaviour

A former judge now representing Tony Mokbel pro bono has accused Victoria Police of criminal behaviour and says the drug lord has grounds to be freed from prison. Tammy Mills The Age A cavalcade of defence lawyers representing the who’s who of Melbourne’s underworld appeared before the Lawyer X royal commission on Wednesday. The commission is investigating the conduct of the force and its prized informer, former gangland barrister turned supergrass Nicola Gobbo. Lawyers for Mokbel, drug traffickers Francesco… Former ... Read More »

One in six women in Australia are physically or sexually abused before they turn 15

A new report has shed light on statistics surrounding family, domestic and sexual violence – showing one in six women and one in nine men experienced physical or sexual abuse before the age of 15. Dubravka Voloder SBS Sydney woman Cynthia Huynh was still at primary school when she first experienced violence. “I spent my childhood immersed in abuse,” she told SBS News. What started out as discipline, she said, ended up as an excuse for being hit. “The violence, ... Read More »

The raid on the ABC shows we need a law to protect journalists and their sources

Parliament has passed a slew of national security laws that limit and even criminalise the fundamental work of the press Peter Greste The Guardian Recent raids by the Australian federal police on the News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst and the ABC are a serious threat to the most fundamental role that the media plays in a democracy. By definition, democracy is government by the people. Politicians act on behalf of those who employ them; that is, us Australian voters and ... Read More »

A blind refugee has been held in Australian detention for nine years

The United Nations has blasted the Australian government for detaining the man, who also has mental health issues. Nick Baker SBS A United Nations working group has called on the Australian government to immediately release and compensate a 35-year-old Tamil refugee with multiple disabilities who has been in detention for more than nine years. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention wrote a “scathing” report about the individual being held since 2010, which has been seen by SBS News and ... Read More »

‘A wake up call to the world’: Not one country on track to reach gender equality by 2030

Out of 193 countries, a new global index has found Australia is ranked number 10 in the world when it comes to gender equality. Maani Truu SBS Australia has just cracked the top 10 when it comes to measuring gender equality, but there is still a lot of work to do, the first global index to track progress towards international targets has found. The SDG Gender Index, developed by Equal Measures 2030, has reported that not one country is on ... Read More »

Manus Island detainee Farhad Bandesh’s new song The Big Exhale – music video

The Kurdish artist and asylum seeker has been held on Manus Island for nearly six years Source: Wantok Musik The Guardian Manus Island detainee Farhad Bandesh releases… – video – His new song The Big Exhale was written and recorded across borders with the help of David Bridie (Not Drowning, Waving) and Jenell Quinsee, who connected with Bandesh through the Writing Through Fences initiative. A new music video, made in collaboration with Melbourne City Ballet, features the dancer Bilal Zeine ... Read More »

How many more people must die on Manus before Australia ends indefinite detention?

Refugees were counting down the days to the election. But our hopes have been dashed and the future is grim Behrouz Boochani The Guardian It is noon … there is no sign of that scorching Manus sun. The moist clouds assail the Manus Island sky … the weather is pleasant. I can’t say it feels like springtime, but it’s tolerable in contrast to the searing tropical heat. When the weather is like this the refugees from the different prison camps ... Read More »

Money politicians shouldn’t take

As the old saying goes, always follow the money. A beautiful, flourishing future is possible for Australia but only if we can effectively tackle the vested interests that are holding us back as a country. David Ritter The Canberra Times Every year, large sums are donated by the fossil fuel industry to politicians and political parties, while Australian people are being robbed of decent climate action. It isn’t right or fair, but vested interests will always use their power and ... Read More »

‘Internet brides’ abused and held captive in suburban Australian homes

An explosion of social media sites promoting prospective young Asian brides has caused a spike in abuse and exploitation, with reports some women are being held captive in suburban homes in… Erin Parke ABC Six women from Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines have revealed their stories to ABC News in the hope of preventing other women being lured into abusive relationships with… “We have seen some horrendous cases where there’s been really severe physical violence and where women have simply ... Read More »

OPINION | How do we make the world safer for women?

A year ago, when Eurydice Dixon was murdered in a Melbourne park, there were a lot of conversations – public and private – about how women felt about their personal safety. Michelle Haines Thomas The Canberra Times I remember being shocked that so many men – grown up men with wives and daughters – hadn’t realised how fearful women felt out in the world. And how normalised that is by even teenage years. We walk with our keys bunched in ... Read More »

Why we should care about Julian Assange? Because next time they come for us…

Wikileaks co-founder, Julian Assange, in 2010 published information provided to him by then-US Army Pfc. Bradley E. Manning that comprised nearly 750,000 classified, or unclassified but sensitive, military and… Murray Hunter OnLineOpinion Among those documents was a collateral murder film clip that showed US Apache helicopters killing people in Iraq including two local Reuters news agency employees, exposing a US military cover-up. The military had claimed that the helicopters were responding to an active firefight and that all killed were ... Read More »

Assange a victim of torture and Australia shares blame, says UN expert

London: Julian Assange has been subjected to intense psychological torture comparable to some of the gravest cases from “interrogation prisons” around the world, a United Nations expert says. Nick Miller WAtoday He accuses the UK, US and Sweden of a “consistent failure” to protect Assange’s human rights – and Australia of a “glaring absence” where it should be helping one of its citizens. But the Australian government has emphatically rejected any suggestion Australia is complicit in any torture of Assange, saying ... Read More »

New Zealand ‘wellbeing’ budget promises billions to care for most vulnerable

Widespread praise for ‘world-first’ budget tackling mental illness, family violence and child poverty Eleanor Ainge Roy The Guardian After more than a year of curiosity and speculation, New Zealand’s Labour coalition government has unveiled its “world-first” wellbeing budget, to widespread praise from social agencies charged with looking after the… The finance minister, Grant Robertson, unveiled billions for mental health services and child poverty as well as record investment in measures to tackle family violence. “Success is making New Zealand both a ... Read More »

Julian Assange too ill to appear in court via video link, lawyers say

Hearing is latest stage in possible extradition of WikiLeaks founder to US Ben Quinn The Guardian Julian Assange was too ill to appear by video link for the latest hearing in relation to his possible extradition to the US, lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder told a court. The hearing was the first since 2 May, when lawyers for the US government began pressing its case to extradite him to face trial for what they described as one the largest compromises of classified information ... Read More »